the m john harrison blog

Tag: appearances



what I am like in real life

twisty. a bit stiff in the joints. not a fiction. always walking away from something, including myself. always down the road in that sense or, metaphorically, in the motorcycling sense, ie a spill of one sort or another. quite short. physical stamina long gone. very angry even now but able to sleep most nights, which is new. don’t listen to music much any more. hate all the same things I hate here, also some others; love all the same things I love here, also some others. would not be psychologically safe without the efforts of the people who love me. losing the constant war with cake. losing the constant war on chocolate. afraid of death. afraid of pain. afraid of loss. desperately admire most dogs but only as long as I don’t have to own one. after long experience admire only some cats. try to be decent. never danced much. decline in ability to focus obsessively seems to have led to increased success. don’t describe things in the world as often or as well as I used to. like machines. like big, energetic astronomical events, esp including hard x-rays. like to walk. like to jog. own a lot of specialised shoes. like silence. love a pork pie. feel frail, although that’s probably not the case yet but an imaginative casting-forward. often employ the rhetorical question “What am I like?”, meaning how can anyone be this fucked up/absent-minded/late. keep some parts of myself severely to myself, am thus able to maintain a deep fruitful disjunction between this real world & the real real world. always a fiction. sixty nine years old in a month. no heroes. will read for cash.

“there’s something wrong with almost everything”

Intrusions: 10th — 29th June 2014 will celebrate the life of Robert Aickman.

The exhibition features work by contemporary printmakers–Paula Rego, Anna Maria Pacheco, Dolores deSade, Johanna Love, Marcelle Hanselaar, Oona Grimes, Tassie Russell–who, like Aickman, interpenetrate the uncanny and the mundane, less opposing them than encouraging them to interrogate one another.

The exhibition is accompanied by talks, performances and events, and there is a ‘100th birthday’ celebration on the afternoon of 28th June, as part of which I’ll be reading a short story, “Entertaining Angels Unawares”.

“Although there’s no charge for anything,” says Chris Maloney of Printroom, “we’re booking the places for 28th June to manage numbers, seats and catering. The programme is 2-6pm talks and readings, 6-8pm (or later) food drink and conversation. In the spirit of a private party, it’s ‘Bring a Bottle’.”


keeping up appearances

CFP is out for papers at the M John Harrison conference, Irradiating the Object, Warwick University on the 21st of August this year–more detail will follow when I have it. I’ll be reading & doing Q&A at that, then in October I’m guest-reading at Arvon’s Totleigh Barton branch for that wily & sinuous team Jensen & Ings, who will be teaching a course called Dreams & Visions. Anyone else who’d like a disreputable old pony at their horse show, please get in touch with me here, or @mjohnharrison, or via the Mic Cheetham Agency.


Washed within the hoods of cars and one-story homes, three globally renowned scholars arrive at the Book Club. Their names are: Mark Waller, Cokay Food and “Citizen Exceed”. For our one week brain-training protocol, no auto sales experience is necessary. Everything you eat while you’re here–along with the movements you develop–is done with caution. TED talk: during the first morning session “Citizen Exceed”, rated M, will explore a wide array of accessories available in the world today. (Portable to be fixed.)


weird reading at the horse hospital: details

From the organisers:

Tickets are now on sale for 7th November’s Weird Reading, and can be picked up here, either as part of registration for the Weird Conference, or separately: Please do spread the word.

Provisional schedule for the evening:

18.40: Doors

19.10: Robert Kingham (Talk on Weird Bloomsbury)

19.30: Break

19.40: Lisa L. Hannett

20.00: Helen Marshall

20.20: Break

20.50: Hal Duncan

21.10: K.J. Bishop

21:30: Break

22:00: M. John Harrison

22:40 [approx.]: Q&A [All readers.]

23.10 [approx.]: End

We also have Mark Pilkington, Strange Attractor Press founder, providing some sonics, under the guise of his ‘The Asterism’ project, which you can hear here:

this seemed to bear repeating

The young use old things then throw them away & move on; the old use old things because they still work. Only the middle-aged have issues with nostalgia. They make a thing of it. Their fear is a fear of the loss of agency; they suffer momentary panic, taunt each other, grind themselves “forward” again in the attempt to stay in denial & keep their kids at bay. Are they doing the right things? Using the right objects in the right way? They’re not sure they know anymore. I use “middle aged” in its original sense, of course, not the contemporary one.

confirmed reading dates

Just to confirm some outings this year. For Midlanders, I’m at the Pow-Wow LitFest in Birmingham on Sunday 15th September, which has the vast advantage of being held in a pub garden. Then I’ll be exchanging the usual shallow banter with Nick Royle at the Lancaster Literary Festival, 16th October. Finally, on 7th November I’ll be the least of the performers at the Weird Fiction Reading Event at the Horse Hospital. If anyone else is interested in booking me for a reading, I can be found here or @mjohnharrison, or via my agent. I’m less interested in giving talks.